ST. IVES, England — President Joe Biden became the 13th U.S. head of state to be received by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who welcomed him and first lady Jill Biden to Windsor Castle on Sunday.
The ceremonial visit, similar in protocol to President Donald Trump’s 2019 visit to Windsor, caps four days of meetings around the Group of 7 summit in the county of Cornwall on England’s southwestern coast.
Biden, at first wearing his trademark aviator glasses, walked across the sprawling lawn inside the castle to review the Guard of Honor as the 95-year-old monarch and the first lady watched from a shaded seating area. The three then went inside for tea.
Biden first met Elizabeth in 1982 when he was a senator, according to the White House.
The visit comes after a difficult year for the monarch and just three days after what would have been her husband’s 100th birthday. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died in April.
Jill Biden had marked Philip’s birthday on Wednesday, tweeting: “We are holding the entire Royal Family in our hearts today, and wishing them peace and comfort on what would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday.”
Meanwhile, reports in the British press continued to swirl about whether Prince Harry and Meghan, the duchess of Sussex, consulted the monarch before bestowing her nickname, Lilibet, on their daughter, who was born June 4 in California. The queen’s grandson and his wife had stepped back from royal duties and moved with their son, Archie, to the Santa Barbara area.
The queen first met a serving U.S. president, Harry Truman, as Princess Elizabeth in 1951. She has since met nearly every American president (Lyndon Johnson was the exception) who served during her 69 years on the throne. It’s one indication of the importance the monarch, who came of age following World War II, places on this “special” transatlantic relationship.
She appeared to take a special liking to President Barack Obama, whom she met three times during his presidency, including hosting a 2011 state dinner that included a two-night stay at Buckingham Palace.
She also hosted a state dinner for President Trump in 2019 a year after welcoming him to Windsor Castle for a short ceremony. Though Biden, unlike Trump, opposed Brexit and is committed to transatlantic relations, his Irish roots — and outspoken support for upholding the Good Friday Agreement — could lend a degree of awkwardness to the meeting.